A couple of months ago I was invited to attend Knitting Vogue by a friend of mine who was going to be working at a booth selling knitting machines. Due to a mix up they had some extra tickets to the marketplace so she invited me knowing my knitting passion. It was even better than I expected with knitting and crocheting art and runways and so many people with the same interest as me and, oh my, the yarns they were selling. Every fiber you could think of from muskox, to wool of every breed, to rabbit, to soy, to milk, and on and on. As you can imagine there were a few farmers who do most of their business in craft shows like this one. One such farmer who lived not far from where I am from had her spinning wheel set up to keep her occupied while tending her booth. Her chair was set up with a sheep skin on it and seeing the actual spinning wheel I was so excited.
I have been telling my friend who invited me that we had to learn how to spin (in my mind with a drop spindle) for a couple months now. Now I am might lose a few on you on my reason why. I am pretty obsessed with dogs and mine in particular so my hope was to eventually spin up something with a little of her in it so I could knit with it and have it forever (apparently this idea isn’t knew in my family since my mom still has some fur from the Newfoundland I grew up with).
I started talking to the woman who was spinning on this wheel right before my eyes. My friend quickly pointed out to the woman that I have been dying to learn to spin and she, beyond my wildest dreams, asked if I wanted to try! I definitely could not say no to that. She sat me down and had me just learn how the treadle spun the wheel for a couple minutes (it is harder than it looks). Then she showed me how to draft the fiber and soon I was spinning! She warned me that it would be frustrating, which it was, but I wasn’t discouraged. Now I am pretty sure that it was just for encouragement but she told me I did very well for my first time. I broke the fiber and she showed me how to join more. I made some of the yarn way to thin and other parts way to thick and I had to try and concentrate as my friend kept making me laugh which looked more like a grimace with my concentration.
To my surprise and joy when I had finished her bag full of roving she quickly rolled it up into a skein and handed it to me. Thinking back, what would she do with a small skein of poorly spun yarn? I appreciate it either way though and hope to one day repay her. Here is my finished result.
I was obviously enchanted and went straight home to look up wheels. Now a spinning wheel isn’t really something they sell at every corner store or even surprisingly on amazon.com. It took a while but I picked out what I think will be a good beginner wheel at a reasonable price (for a spinning wheel). I had found the Baynes Scotch Tension Spinning Wheel and found someone who sells them practically in my backyard! Well cheap for a spinning wheel is still about $400 which is a bit of change. So after complaining about it A LOT to my poor poor boy friend, who could really care less (his whole family knits and I am sure her is THRILLED he found someone just as enchanted with the hobby 😉 ) , I settled on a drop spindle.
I just got the drop spindle today (well depends when you think today is) finally in the mail along with a few ounces of dyed roving.
I was more than a little excited to try it out. I had already watched some introduction videos on youtube and thought myself relatively prepared. None of the videos really showed how to stop in the middle of spinning so I just kept on going and going and going. The drop spindle gives you a little more time for drafting the fiber before it is spun but I am not sure I could necessarily say it is easier than the wheel. I used the “Park and Draft” method of pausing after charging the spindle and pulling out the next section of fiber. I really have no idea how you are suppose to draft while the spindle is still spinning. I guess that is something for the future. If my thickness is any more consistent than my first attempt it isn’t by much. I will let you be the judge of how I did.
I really have no clue how I am suppose to wrap the yarn on the drop spindle but this way seemed to work alright but then again maybe it didn’t since occasionally the yarn would fall off the top hook and I would have to jump and catch the spindle before too much got unravelled. I am not quite sure what I will make with it. I was thinking of plying it but I don’t have a lot. What ever I end up making with it I will show it off proudly as my first drop spindle yarn.
Thanks for listening to my spinning story!